Setbacks, interruptions and creativity
by Sigourney Young
So here we are, another Monday and a blog that I have penciled into my diary as #The100DayProject Update. But here’s the kicker, I don’t have an update. I don’t have new pieces to share or new learnings about the medium I was hoping to improve. I DO, though, have quiet compassion for an artist and businesswoman overtaken by the day-to-day.
Just two days after my last update, my father-in-law arrived from Australia and I have been swept away in tour guide duties, family dinners and the delicate art of finding a time where you don’t necessarily have it. I might not have perfected a new medium, but I’ve perfected the art of client follow-ups between teaching yoga classes, intense commission painting sessions, and sightseeing trips as well as the ability to take a breath and adapt when plans suddenly change.
I plan to continue my #The100DayProject and know it will be the perfect opportunity to challenge myself and to evolve a new body of work. My dream is for it to become a full 100-piece collection to launch for the Christmas season. I’ll be working hard to make it a reality! But in the meantime, I am thankful that this is a season of family, explorations and a dedicated focus on my clients.
So, in the face of setbacks and distractions, what have I learned about creativity?
1. Sometimes ideas have an incubation period
This year I’ve felt a change in the way I think about my business. I’m more contemplative and I can feel new ideas bubbling under the surface of my mind. As I answer emails and drive between yoga classes I can daydream about the where I want to take my business next, including how I could continue my #The100DayProject. This season has taught me that it’s okay to just let these ideas bubble away and that every day they are simmering away to become something deeper and more impactful. I know that when I am ready to take these ideas up and act, they will be there. They’ll be better, and more achievable for having been thoughts I have dwelled on and brought into my heart.
2. Redirection is better than giving up
There have been many moments when I feel that my current projects have failed and that every day in which I fall further behind is another regret. I’ve learned though, that this regret doesn’t help anyone – not me, not my business and certainly no one that’s rooting for me. Regret doesn’t get me more paintings, nor does disappointment in my failure to complete my do list make me a better artist. What does, however, is redirecting my efforts to projects I CAN achieve and that I’m excited to continue. Redirecting my creativity into my commissions and exploring the idea of large-scale collection allows me to set my own direction, at my own pace. It may not get me to the end quickly, but it gets me there eventually with purpose, and I think that’s the biggest win of all!
You don’t have to climb a mountain or spend a lot of money to find something new. Go for a drive or take the train to somewhere you’ve wanted to visit. Take a game or book to the park – or both! Perhaps there’s a show or band night at a local pub.
3. Be kind to yourself
This is the most important point of all. Write it down, stick it on your desk or your dashboard, and stop beating yourself up about something you wanted to do and haven’t. There are seasons for all things, seasons for action and seasons for reflection. If you’re having setbacks and interruptions like I am, just know that you will not always be in this season. I could tell you to ‘power on’, or keep up the ‘hustle’, but busy should not be a badge of honour and hustling yourself into burn out is most definitely not the answer. Creativity, new projects, and the time to spend on them does come, I promise. But if today is not that day, be kind to yourself. Let your ideas keep simmering and understand that there will be moments to pursue them. Eventually, those moments will get bigger and bigger, and you’ll find yourself carving out more time for yourself and your creativity. Until then, whatever you can give is enough.
I’m a synesthesia artist that will be forever found with paint on my nose, dancing around the studio in my yoga pants. I love travel, gluten-free brownies and working from the home studio I share with my husband. My goal? To bring you into the world of synesthesia and to create a space online that celebrates the colour and meaning of music.
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